Gasser Lab Profile
Research Focus: Nuclear Organization and Subnuclear Compartments
My laboratory is interested in how nuclear and chromosomal context establishes and maintains patterns of gene expression and replication origin usage. Our aim is to understand how these contribute to stable inheritance of a differentiated cellular state. Both correlate with patterns of spatial organization in the nucleus, as well as with higher-order chromatin structure along the chromosomal arm. Using live imaging techniques that allow us to visualise and quantify chromatin mobility in living yeast cells, we have analysed the dynamics of nuclear organization, characterizing the molecular nature of constraints that restrict chromatin mobility and ensure a reproducible spatial organization of the genome. In budding yeast, as in other organisms, chromosomal subcompartments respond to genetic damage and DNA checkpoint pathways, as well as to developmental cues. Understanding how the cell maintains telomere and replication fork structure in face of genomic insult or DNA damage, to ensure that the cell avoids oncogenic transformation, is an ultimate goal of our research. To this end we hope to further characterize the DNA damage checkpoint response.